Thursday, July 22, 2021
43-46 Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.
47-51 “I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But nowhere is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”
53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The One who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food, and my blood is a natural drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood, you enter into me, and I into you.
In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here, and I live because of him, so the One who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate Bread and later died. So whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
59 He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum. -John 6:43-59 The Message.
The crowd doesn’t like the message given to them by Jesus at this point, so they tune him out. Meanwhile, there is more disagreement about where Jesus is from. For now, let’s continue where Jesus is telling the crowd to stop grumbling. “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. So it is written in the Prophets. They will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”
Let’s stop here a minute. There are a few reminders to unpack here. First, the crowd was grumbling, and because they were, Jesus didn’t get angry; he explained why they shouldn’t complain. Second, the group didn’t want to acknowledge that God plays the most active role in our salvation and not man. Finally, if you believe, you believe because of your response from the holy spirit, not for our selfish greed. God does the urging; we make the decision if we want to believe or not. No one can believe in Jesus without God’s help.
With this in mind, Jesus is expressing the urge of learning, not hearing. If anybody remembers the acronym of the word bible, we know that we are educated through the bible. We learn our experiences from the bible, the thoughts of the holy spirit through the bible. And we understand our relationships through the bible. Jesus was teaching a view through the Messianic kingdom which all people are taught directly by God. (Isaiah 54:13, Jeremiah 31:31-34) When you are reading the bible, are you learning or listening?
Jesus is talking to the crowd. He continues, “No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God, only he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, the One who believes has eternal life. Let’s stop here for a moment and unpack. Jesus uses the word “believes.” Believe means “continue to believe.” How many times have you said you believe in something? It’s probably not once, but more than one. When we believe, we continue to believe and trust Jesus. The disagreement comes on different occasions where the religious leaders continuously ask him to prove that he is better than the prophets they already had. Jesus, in verse 47, mentions the manna that Moses gave their ancestors in the desert. (Exodus 16) The Bread that Moses gave was physical and temporary. When they ate it, it sustained them for a day. To stay this way, they had to get more Bread, not only on that day but every day. The Bread didn’t stop them from dying. Moses offered himself the spiritual Bread from heaven that is satisfying and leads to eternal life.
Jesus continued: “I am the living Bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the Bread that comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this Bread will live forever. This Bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” The Jews began to argue sharply among themselves. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat.”
Ladies and gentlemen, if the Jews only knew. If they stop and try to educate themselves, accept that Jesus is better, they would learn. But no, they got to be stubborn. So let’s talk about it for a moment. How can Jesus give us his flesh as Bread to eat? Spoiler alert: more repetitions. To eat the living Bread means to accept Christ into our lives. We unite with Jesus when we eat the spiritual Bread. We are connected in two ways.
- Believing in his death and the resurrection. In other words, we believe the sacrifice of his flesh.
- We connect by devoting ourselves to living as he requires, depending on his teaching for guidance, and trusting in the Holy Spirit for power.
Jesus continued: “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the One who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the Bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this Bread will live forever. Jesus said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.”
A first-time reader of the bible may be thinking, “cannibalistic? Jesus is saying, drink his blood, eat the Bread is enough to freak many people out. In Leviticus, it is forbidden to do what Jesus is asking. (Leviticus 17:10, 11) He is not talking about literal blood. His life becomes their own, but nobody grasped this concept. The Gospel writers and Paul used the body and blood imagery for the purpose of communion. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) As a first-time reader, did you believe this is cannibalistic and a turnoff? What made you realize later that communion is a holy ritual? Take time to pray for teachers to explain this part well to not let people run away.
Father, thanks for today. Thank you for your teaching. I pray that we can teach others about you, how you operate, and the things that may creep them out, instructing them of its analogy. I pray for those that will have open hearts and learn. In Jesus’ name. Amen!